Butterfly Color Patterns Reveal Clues About the Genes That Build Insect Wings

painted lady butterfly

By Viviane Callier Butterfly wings are natural canvases decorated with elaborate color patterns, but how these patterns develop and evolve is still incompletely understood. Now, a new study in Scientific Reports has identified the genetic code by which butterflies can assign color patterns to different parts of their wings during development. The code is based […]

Endangered Maritime Ringlet Shows Continued Decline in Eastern Canada

Coenonympha nipisiquit

An endangered butterfly species in eastern Canada appears to be declining in numbers, but a better understanding of how environmental conditions affect its lifecycle may better inform conservation efforts, according to a new study in Environmental Entomology. Coenonympha nipisiquit, also known as the maritime ringlet, lives in just 10 salt marshes in Quebec and New […]

Walking With the Butterflies in Taiwan’s Maolin Valley

crow butterflies

By Laura Kraft This post is the seventh in the “Travel Bug” series by Laura Kraft, a recent graduate from the University of Georgia, who is chronicling her travels in Asia from an entomological perspective. See earlier posts from the series. Late January in the Northern Hemisphere means cooler temperatures, but it was nothing new […]

The Eyes of Common Bluebottle Butterflies Have 15 Photoreceptor Classes

When researchers studied the eyes of common bluebottle butterflies (Graphium sarpedon), they found at least 15 different classes of “photoreceptors” — light-detecting cells comparable to the rods and cones in the human eye. Previously, no insect was known to have more than nine. The results of their study are published in the journal Frontiers in […]

The Butterfly Changes its Spots — Eyespots, that is

Eyespots are one of nature’s favorite forms of misdirection, shared by fish, frogs, birds, and many insects. Aside from deflecting attack, they can also be used as a “startle” mechanism, being flashed just long enough to delay attack briefly and allow a species to escape. In addition, they can also be used for camouflage, providing […]